Jump to content

Recommended Posts

On the morning of 18 Kuspor 1649, the Eye of Cortallia – the Imperial Yacht – touched down on Fulltrui International Air- and Spaceport. The Yacht was an old one, some forty years old, yet reliable and very comfortable and luxurious. The Kaiseress thought travelling on the Ete would be very fitting, as she knew the Storish fondness for luxury, pump and circumstance.

With her on the Yacht, she had her grandson, Prince Vidar – a timid boy of a little less than five years of age – clutched to his nanny. Vidar’s mother, Liv, Khanum of Cabbagefall, was also onboard but seemed to make an effort to avoid interaction with her son. The Kaiseress was also pleased that her husband, King Noah, and their mutual children, Prince Vilhjalm and Princess Esther had joined her on this important trip.

It was her first trip to Stormark for ten years. Although a noble in Stormark – both through her marriage to the High King’s grandson and through her own right as Jarla of the Longships Islands – she had not visited Stormark since. She had never felt very home here – she didn’t dislike coming here – but the country and its culture were in many ways foreign to her, difficult to understand. She was constantly afraid of doing something wrong.

And indeed, the last time she was here, it was to seek lobbying for the war against the Leonids – in hindsight, her worst mistake as the real culprit for her children’s murder was her very own son, Adam. She hoped that the Storish would be gracious enough not to bring this matter up.

“Noah, darling,” she said as she turned to her husband. “I’m a little nervous. I’ve never really liked it here, you know?”

Her husband smiled, whispered a calming word in her ear.

An usher came to the couple, “Your Radiance – we have landed. It is time for the procession out.”

Flanked by a number of Sentinels – the Kaiseress’s personal body guard – carrying traditional weapons and clothes for the sake of ceremony, the Kaiseress led the procession down the gangway to the airport tarmac where a giant red carpet had been placed.

The Kaiseress walked with her hair free – it was the first time in many years that she let her hair be shown in public, as her husband had advised her that it is considered a taboo in Stormark to fully cover the hair – holding her grandson’s hand. After her walked her husband, Noah, and the Khanum of Cabbagefall, representing the two largest and most important Imperial States. Thereafter walked her youngest two children, Prince Vilhjalm (named after the current High Justiciar of Stormark) and Princess Esther. After them followed a number of officials and servants that Kaiseress’s entourage had taken on. Though, as the invitation officially only extended to the Kaiseress, the Khanum, and the Kaiseress’s immediate family, there were no government ministers or so coming along. The Kaiseress had thought it somewhat weird, though she was advised by her husband that the omission of any government ministers was just a testament to the Stormarker’s regard for the kaiseress as a true autocrat.

“You are the Radiant Sun,” she had said, smiled, and bowed his head to his wife.

It was warmer than she expected in Haraldsborg – the forecast had warned about some chill – but it was unexpectedly warm this morning, and it felt good for the light breeze to go through her hair.

“You look stunning,” whispered her husband behind her as they walked down the gangway, and the Kaiseress smiled. She had decided on a white silk dress covered with a gold-embroidered coat with a slight train.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Royals, Nobles, Knights and Thegns of the Lands of the Longships Throne, Ladies and Gentlemen, all hail Her Imperial Magnificence and Radiant Majesty the Lady Noor as-Salaam bint Daniyal Umra Suleiman Ayreon-Kalirion ibn al-Majeed al-Osman bin Sathrati af Ettlingum Freyu Umm Zahir al-Din of Waffel-Paine, Kaiseress of Shireroth, Kaiseress in Kildare, Empress of Kildare, Queen of Goldshire, the Elian Lands, Talenore, Elwynn, Amokolia, and Uppland, Imperial Princess of Shireroth, Emira of Sathrati, Storjarla of Stormark, Imperial Chieftainess and Jarla of the Longships Isles!", the Storjarla Geirbjörg Gefialdrsdóttir, Imperial Chieftainess of the Isles - the goodgrandmother of Kaiseress Noor - proudly boomed as soon as the Kaiseress Noor touched down on the soft red carpet.

King Noah of Elwynn, Kaiseress Noor’s husband and therefore the Kaiser Consort of Shireroth, quickly pressed a kiss in his Lady Wife Mortal’s neck. The Lady Noor turned around. “Taking Storish liberties, aren’t you, boy? Just wait until we get home, where the blade of the guillotine is being sharpened and the Chief Imperial Inquisitor has been summoned”, Her Radiance said with a smile which was both sardonic and affectionate and was followed by a big fat wink. And Noah blushed.

The huge crowd, consisting of hundreds of thousands of people who had gathered on the tarmac of the Fulltrui International Air- and Spaceport to see the Lady of the Golden Mango Throne in the flesh, immediately burst into raucus cheering. At the self-same instance the All Sólareyjar Pipe and Drum Band commenced to play Shireroth’s National Anthem and a 63-gun salute, fired by the Imperial Salute Guns Battery of the Alexandrian Guard, began.

A 63-gun salute is one of the highest honours the High Realm of Stormark can bestow upon a foreign head of state. The honour is conferred quite infrequently; the last time was during the State Visit of King Arkadius II of Batavia to the Twenty-Six Jarldoms, which took place in the long bygone days of the year 1556. Most visiting heads of state only get the basic gun salute of 21 rounds of fire. Due to her family ties to the House of Ettlingar Freyu, the Imperial House of Stormark, the Kaiseress Noor is given an additional 21 rounds of fire. On top of that the Lady Noor receives another 21 rounds of fire, due to the Kaisership’s newly-granted status of Storkonungur, with Kaiseress Noor being referred to as Stordróttning as female occupant of the Golden Mango Throne. Storkonungur means "Great Monarch" in the Storish language and is the most prestigious category of visiting foreign rulers and was bestowed upon the holder of the Shirerithian Kaisership just after the establishment of the permanent Imperial Rule of the House of Ayreon-Kalirion in Shireroth.

This State Visit was only second time in the long and glorious history of the Twenty-Six Jarldoms that a Shirerithian Sovereign visited the Lands of the Longships Throne. Nigh a Norton century-and-a-half ago, in the year 1500 to be exact, Kaiser Mors IV had preceded the Lady Noor. That visit had just been a short informal sojourn by His Imperial Niftiness to express his gratitude to the High King of Stormark for bestowing upon him the Most Magnificent Imperial Order of the Sovereign Viking Crown. This Kaiseral visit would, however, be a whole different kettle of fish; a very Imperial display of the luxury, pomp pageantry and circumstance the People of the High Realm of Stormark are so excessively fond of and where their country is renowned for.

The sudden mixture of loud sounds must have seemed quite the disturbing cacophony to the little Prince Vidar, causing him to be bewildered and on the brink of crying. Kaiseress Noor quickly swooped up her grandson in her arms, hugged him tenderly and whispered some comforting words into his ear. In the blink of an eye a smile appeared on the little one’s face. Gently Her Radiance put the Prince Vidar down, took his hand and solemnly and graciously began to walk down the crimson carpet. 

The red carpet was lined by a massive honour guard which is composed of alternately members of the Valiant Vixens, the army of watchwoman founded by High Queen Hervör which since time immemorial guards the Vanadísarhall, dressed in sexy amazon-esque ceremonial garb, as well as women wearing their local Bunad. Each Valiant Vixen is holding a banner associated with one of the numerous realms, fiefs, and other territorial holdings ruled by the Kaiseress Noor; the Ladies in Bunad are each carrying the flag of the area of the various Storish Yeorlskapper they hail from.

With a smile of approval High King Harald of Stormark watched his goodgranddaughter the Kaiseress Noor of Shireroth, with the little Prince Vidar by her side, strut towards him over the red carpet, followed at a respect by the members . The Lady Noor was every inch an empress. Her Radiance conducted herself with natural regality as well as admirably well in a place where she must feel like a stranger in a strange land. Just like he felt during the  days of his reign as Duke of Froyalan when travelling south of the Araxion-Eliria Line.

To the delight of the crowd the Lady Noor was with her right hand making priestessly ritual gestures of greeting and blessing associated with the Ancient Ways faith called bendingar towards them. This was something the High King knew from diplomatic dispatches that the Storjarla Fjǫrleif Llængjarla, who was his granddaughter and the High Priestess of the Mackerel Temple, a senior Vanic Temple situated in Elwynn, had taught Her Radiance when she was on the isle of Saint Harald’s Mount in the Elwynnese Bailiwick of Avaldsnes, recovering from giving birth to Princess Esther of Anglia, her second child with King Noah of Elwynn who is her second husband.

From the way Kaiseress Noor was dressed and behaved herself it was obvious to the High King that she had been taking her husband’s advice regarding how to curry favour with the Storish population during this State Visit. She had very prudently left her headscarf at home which would score some major points with the People of the Twenty-Six Jarldoms who regard headscarves as a symbol of a dangerous purity culture, obsessed with honor and virginity, which objectifies women as vessels for honour and temptation as well as absolves men of personal responsibility. That purity culture covers, segregates, subordinates, silences, jails and kills women and girls while they should be worshipped and celebrated and enjoy their divine-given Liberté de Vivre. It would be beyond comprehension fort hem why one of the most powerful autocrats of Micras would subject herself to that. In addition there also is one of the Vanafolk Maxims, an important part of Vanic Law, which decrees that beauty must not be covered up.

Her Imperial Magnificence and Radiant Majesty’s husband’s advice also showed in the very garments she was so regally clad. It was precisely as stipulated for a Stordróttning by Lady Anne-Marie's Treatise on the Sovereign Household and Les Coutumes du Maison du Duc de Normandie. Another textbook example of the very succesful partnership between King Noah and Kaiseress Noor, which had kept Shireroth strong and stable and had put the Lady Noor on the Golden Mango Throne.

Kaiseress Noor and King Noah had been married for sixteen years now and to this very day they oozed with love and affection for each other. They were a very regal but also quite odd couple: a mild cynic (Noor) having tied the knot with a hopeless romantic (Noah). Their marriage has overall been a happy one - although Noah from to time wished that he could spend more time with Noor who always is very busy with governing her many realms, fiefs and territories around the globe. Experience has also shown that they complement each other well.

When Kaiseress Noor was halfway the crimson carpet, the thrilling roar of fighter jets is heard. It comes from a formation of thirteen aircaft of the Storish Imperial Naval Air Force which are performing a military flyover in honour of Her Imperial Magnificence and Radiant Majesty the Kaiseress of Shireroth, leaving smoke trails in colours asscociated with the many realms, fiefs and territories she governs. The flyover formation is followed by a Raido strategic bomber that drops golden and silver confetti.

As the Sovereign Lady of Shireroth came closer and closer, the High King’s thoughts went to the last time that he had talked face-to-face with his goodgranddaughter. That had been four years ago in the year 1645 at the funeral  of Kaiser Dominus Tarjeisson in the Valley of Mors. His Imperial and Royal Majesty always enjoyed his conversations with the Kaiseress Noor - which were always mutually enlightening, pleasant and full of witty banter - and he very much looked forward to chatting in person with her again.

The Sovereign Lord of the Lands of the Longships Throne was resplendently clad in a suit of scale armour made of Valtian steel. Upon the High King’s shoulders there was a cloak, blue as the ocean, with gold lining and the Imperial Arms of Stormark embroidered upon its back. It was fastened with a brooch in the shape of boar that was adorned with diamonds. Shining white was His Imperial and Royal Majesty’s armour, and High King Harald wore it as easily as if it was the thinnest of silks. The scales were edged in blue gold, and gleamed and shimmered when they moved. Ancient Viking and Valtian patterns could be seen within the metal, as well as runes and glyphs and arcane symbols that had been folded into the steel.

It was the armour the High King had worn in days long gone by during his Hertugstekja as Duke of Froyalan in the year 1533 which took place in the Shrine of the Sea, the ancient Vanic temple in the Royal City of Avaldsnes. His Imperial and Royal Majesty and wore armour as a nod to his ancient ties with Shireroth. The same applied to the regalia of the Baron Froyalan, of Froyalan Hall in the Imperial City of Shirekeep, which is a Shirerithian Imperial Peerage with had been conferred upon him in the year 1621 by his late legacy grandson Kaiser Ayreon III of Shireroth.

The Storish Royals who are awaiting the Kaiseress Noor at the end of the crimson carpet - High King Harald, High Queen Consort Sigrid the Brave, Krónjarla Aoife, the Storjarlas Chloe, Geirbjörg, Æsileif and Fjǫrleif as well as Storjarls Hallbjörn and Nathan and Princess Clara of Natopia - burst into a spontaneous applause when the Lady Noor walks up to them with her arms outstretched.

“Your Imperial Magnificence and Radiant Majesty, Sweet Lady Goodgrandaughter of Mine, Thank you for accepting my invitation and welcome to the Twenty-Six Jarldoms. You look lovely! The Kaisership really becomes you!”, the High King beamingly says to the Kaiseress Noor while first giving her a bear hug and subsequently kissing her hand.

“De rien, Monsieur le Haut-Roi! C'est bon d'être autocrate”, the Lady Noor replied in accordance with the provisions of the ancient legal and cultural text called the Traité des Droits du Roi d'Ibelin, sporting a smile from ear to ear.

A little girl of noble birth from the Duchy of Normandie called Lady Margerie la Roche of the House of Quesnel stepped forward. Lady Margerie la Roche is dressed in the Bunad of the Comté des Chéris, the traditional district of the Twin Peninsula Jarldom where she hails from. The very young noble lady is to give Kaiseress Noor a bunch of flowers, sing an ancient Storish-Norman folk song, and welcome Imperial Magnificence and Radiant Majesty to Stormark in the Babkhi language.

While the Lady Margerie is engaged with the Lady Noor, the High King’s thoughts wander to the next stage in this State Visit, which will take place after the exchange of pleasantries and the conducting of other formalities pertaining to welcoming a high delegation under diplomatic protocol has ceased. All Shirerithain and Storish Royals present will be ushered to a line of gilded open carriages which are awaiting them near the Imperial Gate, a private gate situated at the outskirts of Fulltrui International Air- and Spaceport which is reserved for the exclusive use of the Imperial House of Ettlingar Freyu and their guests.

The open carriages - which are to be escorted by mounted Norman Knights as well as Imperial Cuirassiers of the Alexandrian Guard, a body of top-notch Alexandrian soldiers who are stationed in Stormark under the provisions of Article 3 of the Glorious Brotherhood Treaty - will take the company of Royals to Elvenhavn, which is  a private harbour that is solely and exclusively used by the Imperial House of the Twenty-Six Jarldoms and their guests, from where they will travel by longship to Harald’s Holdfast. The mounted escort is to be led by the famous lady knight Dame Kendra Harcourt, who is the winner of the Combat on Foot as well as the Jousting of the last four editions of the Grand Tournament of Southport, the most important and prestigious tourney in the Lands of the Longships Throne.

The longship on which the Kaiseress Noor is to travel to Harald’s Holdfast, which is situated on a sacred island called Hnossa Isle, is called the Queen of Quests. It is one of the most ships in Storish (naval) history, not only for being the oldest ship in commission of the Imperial Navy, but also for being one of the Two Silver Longships which are the longships with which the High King in the Days of the Old Tale, when he still was a young chieftain, left the Mysterious Isles. The Queen of Quests and the other Silver Longship, which is called the Sea Falcon, are still being used by the Imperial Navy, but for ceremonial purposes only. The Royal City of Thorfinnsborg is their home base. They have, however, recently been brought over to Elvenhavn in connection with the Kaiseress Noor’s State Visit to the Twenty-Six Jarldoms.

Link to post
Share on other sites

After a glorious trip on carriage through the lined streets of Haraldsborg, Noor arrived at the riverside where the Queen of Quests was waiting.

To keep with the majesty, on this windstill day, decisions had been made to not propel the ship with engines, but only with the brute force of sailors rowing. And this was a huge, grand ship. The deck was lined with the strongest sailors from across the Storish navy – mostly men but some women. They were all tall and muscular and stood in honour as the Kaiseress boarded.

She was led by the High King to an elevated section on the top deck, where she was to stand next to him the journey to Harald’s Holdfast. From this point, she looked over the city, the people all exulting around her.

“You could almost believe they’re thinking I am their empress!” whispered Noor to Harald, who simply smiled as a response.

The rest of the Imperial Shirerithian Family was at a different section of the boat. King Noah took good care of his children and his stepgrandson, and looked much content with his quiet role as imperial consort.

“He’s very good with the kids…” said Harald.
“He very much is. He’s still very much a child, himself. I like that about him. He’s uncomplicated. He’s getting older though…” Noor faked a sad expression, resulting in loud laughter from the High King.

The ship left on its journey to Hnossa Isle – it wouldn’t take long, but as it was a windstill day, it would take some time for the rowers to steer there. The sun was beaming and warmed Noor’s cheeks.

“Thank you again, for inviting me, and for this welcome!”

“Oh we’re only getting started, my dear!” replied Harald.

A while later, after the ship had arrived at Hnossa Isle, a huge lunch in Viking style was served. Noor was over the moon by the welcoming, and she was so happy meeting all other members of the Storish imperial family. Later, in the evening, she would return to them for a banquet, where she would also meet members of the government, jarls from across the High Realm, and outstanding representative of the Storish civilization. But first, she was going to visit the Bovic and Hurmu places of worship.

The first one was the Bovic Cathedral of the Return of the Mother, constructed at the Vanadisarhall, for the benefit of Asara Sisu, then a jarla in Storish care. Now, of course, she was no more, and visiting the sanctuary was a humbling experience.

Noor – already having changed her clothes to full black, including a black veil, in mourning for the fallen empress – entered the church grounds in silence holding her grandson’s hand. There after came her children, followed by her husband.

They spoke quietly to the local bosarch, and proceeded to go the altar place in quiet meditation. It was emotional for everyone involved. Noor’s son Adam had in cold blood murdered Asara Sisu. It was Vidar’s father, and the brother of Vilhjalm and Esther.

Vilhjalm – the oldest of children – was visibly shaken. He had been rather close to his older brother (if anyone could be said to have been close to him), and had felt an immense betrayal – a deep sickening rot in his soul – after knowing of Adam’s crimes, first against his two dead brothers, then to the country of Goldshire, and finally to the soul of the Empress Asara.

“I hate him…” he quietly whispered to his mother’s ear.

“I know, my son.” was all that the mother replied, before Vilhjalm walked to his father and hugged him tightly.

Vidar did not quite comprehend the situation – he was still very young. Yet, he knew that his father had done something terrible, unforgiveable.

“I wish he hadn’t killed her,” he said to Esther, who replied by drawing her fingers through his jet-black hair.

After this visit, Noor and Noah were to travel with their children an to the Hurmu temple. By their marriage contract, they had agreed that the children be brought up in a faith alien to them both – the Hurmu faith. They respected it though, as they both stemmed from ancestors professing it with their souls. Even so much, they had been married in the Hurmu rites, and given their youngest son the name of the chief cleric there, Vilhjalm, who was now also the high justiciar of the Storish government.

Before going, Noor changed her clothes again. She was now wearing a red dress with a red dragonwool cloak, her long black hair put in a beehive style on the top of her head. Red was, after all, the traditional colour for feast clothes in the Hurmu tradition.

As the family arrived there, they were greeted by Vilhjalm Kormak, in his role as the temple’s chairman. He springled water from the Lakes on them, and chanted a little prayer for them all. He then showed them around the temple itself and its grounds.

Noor was in awe of the architecture. It was a beautiful temple, so majestic, yet humble in so many ways. It had so much natural lights, very ltitle decoration, but a lot of air in it. She recognized though, that her husband, Noah, did not seem to appreciate the beauty, and she found that strange, until it dawned on her that Noah was grieving.

His mother was a matron for this temple. Lady Esther used to go to the temple with him several times every week. She prayed, participated in the rites, and was a member of the temple’s Council of Elders. It was hugely emotional for him.

They visited the place where the last rites for the deceased body of Lady Esther were made.

“Do you miss her?” asked Noor her husband gently.

“Every day,” replied Noah. “My memories of her are fading, but when I talk to Dad about her, they seem to come alive again. He has so many stories of her. I think he still is grieving.”

“I think so too,” said Noor.

Their children would spend the night and the next few days at the Temple, to undergo some rites and deepening of their knowledge of their faith. They bid their farewells to their parents, and outside the Temple grounds, Noor and Noah were received by the cheering masses of Haraldsborg.

Taking the opportunity to appease the masses, Noor – despite never showing affection in public – kissed her husband on the cheek, held his hand tightly, as the two of them walked down the stairs to their waiting car.

Now, they would go back to the Vanadisarhall, for the evening banquet.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...